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Question re: Luggage Type


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Greetings!  We'll be heading on our first cruise ever in a couple of weeks (HAL, 7/21, 8-day Alaska, Dep: Seattle).   I had a question regarding luggage.  For the most part we typically use rolling cases like everyone else.  But with a 5 yr old child in tow, I am thinking of using one roller case, which my wife will manage, and I will use one of the large backpacking-type backpacks, which will allow me to keep my hands free for everything else from helping our daughter to dealing w/ passports/etc.   Because this is our first time, I have no idea what hte process/logistics are with regards to physically boarding the ship.  When/where do we drop off luggage, etc.  Also, are large backpacking backpacks frowned upon by cruise staff?  For example, maybe it's convenient for me, but not for the staff?   At the same time, since I'm already wearing it on my back, can I leave it that way and wear it all the way to our room? Or are we required to check it before boarding?

 

Thanks!

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52 minutes ago, redleader74 said:

Because this is our first time, I have no idea what hte process/logistics are with regards to physically boarding the ship.  When/where do we drop off luggage, etc.  Also, are large backpacking backpacks frowned upon by cruise staff?  For example, maybe it's convenient for me, but not for the staff?   At the same time, since I'm already wearing it on my back, can I leave it that way and wear it all the way to our room? Or are we required to check it before boarding?

Wow I admire your persistence! You joined CC almost nine years ago, and are finally taking your first cruise!

 

You do not need to check bags before boarding IF they can go through a regular x-ray machine. If I were checking a backpack (old school or modern convertible), I would tighten all of the straps to minimum or even cinch them down with a strap. Probably more convenient just to wear it.

 

Depending on the size of your roller bag, you can bring it on too. They say the x-ray machine will take a larger bag than airline carryon size. Someone will be along with the actual maximum!

 

HAL does a very good job of having rooms ready when you board or soon after. If the stewards are still tidying your cabin, you can even leave the bags in a closet and go in search of food or drink!

 

Your plan will work! If you keep your bags with you, you can unpack as soon as you like, perhaps while watching the safety video on your TV. Do watch it, though. Then go to the muster station indicated to sign in (scan in). You will not have to stand outside in the sun.

 

Have a wonderful cruise! You have chosen a good one!

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27 minutes ago, crystalspin said:

Wow I admire your persistence! You joined CC almost nine years ago, and are finally taking your first cruise!

 

You do not need to check bags before boarding IF they can go through a regular x-ray machine. If I were checking a backpack (old school or modern convertible), I would tighten all of the straps to minimum or even cinch them down with a strap. Probably more convenient just to wear it.

 

Depending on the size of your roller bag, you can bring it on too. They say the x-ray machine will take a larger bag than airline carryon size. Someone will be along with the actual maximum!

 

HAL does a very good job of having rooms ready when you board or soon after. If the stewards are still tidying your cabin, you can even leave the bags in a closet and go in search of food or drink!

 

Your plan will work! If you keep your bags with you, you can unpack as soon as you like, perhaps while watching the safety video on your TV. Do watch it, though. Then go to the muster station indicated to sign in (scan in). You will not have to stand outside in the sun.

 

Have a wonderful cruise! You have chosen a good one!

Thanks for your speedy and helpful reply.  I'd hate to shell out more money on new luggage, but the roller case we do intent on using is the older style (2 wheels intead of the four wheel type that is most common now), which means it's not as maneuverable and it ways a lot by comparison.  But one thing I do like about it is that its the old school form factor, meaning, there's a thin lid, as oppose to the four wheelers now are all claim shell, where you cannot use the full dept of the case because it opens in half.  This part has always bothered me because it limits versatility of the space. 

 

Has it been 9 years??? Wow!  

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I disagree with the above. You are traveling with a small child. Check all your luggage except meds, valuables and documents. You really don’t want to be hauling around suitcases, back packs, etc. you’re on vacation. Make it easy for yourself. 

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1 hour ago, redleader74 said:

roller case we do intent on using is the older style (2 wheels intead of the four wheel type that is most common now), which means it's not as maneuverable and it ways a lot by comparison.  But one thing I do like about it is that its the old school form factor, meaning, there's a thin lid, as oppose to the four wheelers now are all claim shell, where you cannot use the full dept of the case because it opens in half. 

I will give up my 2-wheel rollaboard when they pry it from my cold dead hands! Although ours are very light, lighter than any spinners I have seen -- even the same company's (IT Luggage). 

 

@zqvol makes a good point -- you CAN check two, wheeled suitcases any size at the curb, and enjoy your check-in free of anything but a daypack with medications, electronics, and documents. A tip is expected. This is what we do. I was caught up in answering your question about the full backpack! 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, redleader74 said:

Thanks for your speedy and helpful reply.  I'd hate to shell out more money on new luggage, but the roller case we do intent on using is the older style (2 wheels intead of the four wheel type that is most common now), which means it's not as maneuverable and it ways a lot by comparison.  But one thing I do like about it is that its the old school form factor, meaning, there's a thin lid, as oppose to the four wheelers now are all claim shell, where you cannot use the full dept of the case because it opens in half.  This part has always bothered me because it limits versatility of the space. 

 

Has it been 9 years??? Wow!  

 

We also prefer the side lid (or whatever you call it) over clam shell style luggage.   I wanted to point out 4-wheeled luggage is not limited to the clam shell style.   Our under-seater, carry-on, 25", and 29" luggage are all 4- wheeled "side loaders".  However, they are not hard shells.  I'm not trying to convince you to buy new bags.  Just pointing out they are a common option. 

 

As far as your original question, I think it has been answered.  Take them with you or check them as you prefer.  No one at the cruise terminal will care about what style of luggage you use.   If you are concerned about size, ask the agent.  Seems I see a lot of people taking large bags through the x-ray machines.  I'm not familiar with HAL, but note that on other lines your cabin may not be ready for immediate occupancy upon boarding.   If that is the case you will need to lug them around with you for a while after boarding.  

Edited by ldubs
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Generally, cruise lines don't care how many bags you bring or what type, so I would do what's easier for you. Just make sure you bring documents, medications, and swimsuits (some ships may have the pools open on Embarkation Day) with you on your carry-on.

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As someone who works at the cruise pier, I do have a thought re the two wheeler suitcase and the extra large backpack: both are fellow traveler unfriendly.

 

Let me explain.  The two-wheeled suitcases are usually behind the person pulling it.  This can become a tripping hazard to the person walking directly behind the bag, especially if the person pulling stops or slows down.  I can't tell you how many times I have to caution  passengers to be careful not to trip over a two wheeler carry-on type bag while passengers are stopped so we can look at passports/boarding passes etc.

 

 As for the extra large backpack - please just drop it off with the porters.  Those backpack are so unyielding that you could knock someone over if they were standing too close to you and you turned quickly.  Also, it really could be problematic walking around the ship, or trying to get on an elevator with that thing on your back.  (In fact, on most foreign public transportation systems, riders will move their regular backpack from their back to their chest so they can avoid bumping fellow passengers). 

 

So, please check your large pieces of luggage with the porters, carry on your meds, valuables and whatever baby related things that you need.  Make sure everyone has their passports/birth certificates in hand.

 

I know that you said that you are not quite ready to upgrade your luggage, but you might want to start planning to do so in the not-too-distance-future.

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1 minute ago, Ferry_Watcher said:

As someone who works at the cruise pier, I do have a thought re the two wheeler suitcase and the extra large backpack: both are fellow traveler unfriendly.

 

Let me explain.  The two-wheeled suitcases are usually behind the person pulling it.  This can become a tripping hazard to the person walking directly behind the bag, especially if the person pulling stops or slows down.  I can't tell you how many times I have to caution  passengers to be careful not to trip over a two wheeler carry-on type bag while passengers are stopped so we can look at passports/boarding passes etc.

 

 As for the extra large backpack - please just drop it off with the porters.  Those backpack are so unyielding that you could knock someone over if they were standing too close to you and you turned quickly.  Also, it really could be problematic walking around the ship, or trying to get on an elevator with that thing on your back.  (In fact, on most foreign public transportation systems, riders will move their regular backpack from their back to their chest so they can avoid bumping fellow passengers). 

 

So, please check your large pieces of luggage with the porters, carry on your meds, valuables and whatever baby related things that you need.  Make sure everyone has their passports/birth certificates in hand.

 

I know that you said that you are not quite ready to upgrade your luggage, but you might want to start planning to do so in the not-too-distance-future.

 This is funny, you know whenever I travel, especially after marriage and kids, I'm always "visualizing" the logistics of my plan and they way you described the bumping into the luggage, the unwieldness of my large backpack, etc., I've actually thought of so it's nice to hear it from actual staff.  To be honest I have in the past several days taken some looks at "modern" luggage and they sure are nice and I do recall in times past, even recently, going through airports and seeing people just smoothly glide their 4 wheels luggage effortlessly through the terminal. 

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I have spinner luggage that glides smoothly over surfaces that are flat, and uncarpeted.  Once I reach the gangway and it becomes uphill, the bag gets dragged behind like a two wheeler.  Especially if my medium backpack is riding on top.  I travel carryon only, and that ramp in Jacksonville is so bad the last time I just checked the 22” case.  My last two cruises I used a 25” two wheeler and checked it at the curb.  I leave next week on S2S cruises and I have to fly, so I now have a 20” two wheel rolling duffle to add to my backpack.  If you think I’m a wimp, I’m traveling solo at 80.  EM

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Logistics of boarding the ship:  

 

Before you leave for the port, attach your luggage tags -- you want to move through all steps of check-in quickly.  Since you have a small child, I suggest wearing swimsuits + cover ups to board; this'll allow you to go straight to the pools /splash areas.  

 

Arrive at the port.  Adjacent to the parking /drop off area you'll see the porters.  Drop off your checked bag -- do not leave until you see your bag go on the cart.  Once it's on the cart, the chances of it going astray are very small.  I always tip the porters; this is a controversial subject.  

 

When you enter the terminal, you (and your tote bag) will go through the X-ray machine.  

 

Next you'll go through check-in.  You'll show your documentation, have your picture taken, and answer a few questions.  

 

If you're boarding early, you'll sit down and wait for boarding to begin.  If you're boarding later in the day, you might be able to walk straight onboard.  

 

As you leave the terminal and approach the ship, you'll get the chance to take a group photograph.  

 

You'll walk up the gang plank and onto the ship.  I'd be sure the 5-year old is in sturdy tennis shoes /not flip-flops for the gang plank -- it's not really challenging or anything; that's more of "an abundance of caution thought".  

 

Most people head up to the pool deck and /or to the buffet first.  At this point, the ship feels quite full, but that'll get better.  Two things you need to do right away:  Go to your Muster Station.  Go to the Kids' Club and register your daughter.  

 

Sometime 1:00 - 1:30ish the captain will announce that the staterooms are open, and you'll be amazed at how fast the crowds will dissipate.  

 

Your ship ID cards will be in an envelope outside your room.

 

Your checked luggage will appear in the hall at some point.  We are always among the first (non-special) groups to board, and our luggage always beats us to our room.  If you board later, things get busier, and your luggage could take longer -- but it's always delivered pretty quickly.  

 

What luggage to bring: 

 

You don't need to bring much.  Really, you don't.  For an 8 day cruise my husband and I would each bring a 22" rolling carry on OR we might share a 26" suitcase.  Since this is an 8-day and you're bringing your daughter, I'd think two 26" suitcases would be ample-plenty. 

 

You and your wife'll each want to bring a back pack or a tote bag.  You should carry on your documents, cards/cash, medications, jewelry, and tech.  Everything else really can go through with the porters.  At five your daughter's old enough to carry on a back pack with her own books or toys.  

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/5/2024 at 6:10 PM, redleader74 said:

I'd hate to shell out more money on new luggage, but the roller case we do intent on using is the older style (2 wheels intead of the four wheel type that is most common now)

If you're not fussy about your luggage matching, you can get some nice suitcases at places like TJ Maxx or Home Goods.  Suitcases at Goodwill go for $5-10.  

We have both 2-wheel models and 4-wheel models -- I much prefer the 4-wheels.  Seems easier to roll them along on flat surfaces, and since we pack light /don't have massive suitcases, it's not hard to lift them up over a curb or to carry them up a staircase.  

14 hours ago, broadwaybaby123 said:

Generally, cruise lines don't care how many bags you bring or what type, so I would do what's easier for you. 

True, but the more you bring, the more you have to deal with.  Excess can make your room feel crowded.  And although we're talking about embarkation, it's important to understand disembarkation too.  

6 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

Especially if my medium backpack is riding on top.  

I just got the best little gadget for attaching a small bag to the top of a larger suitcase.  It's quite secure, and I expect it'd hold up well going up the gangplank.  

 

https://www.amazon.com/Luggage-Bungees-Suitcase-Elastic-Adjustable/dp/B092346G3W/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=2TJDDB8Z0J3HW&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.M7hUEIGoME2uRARioYnpiZdL49vms4Rw7bNm7cAembeDjY2wAfxVbijdBmsFT4uny_Bpct5h1_4KVBNsxIm0vXSRTHMOy1-s8DOVNe4hXxqRs21F287gFPxxA0vSulE3ckeCtdjbY8uY4mPXfgjz-tnhWYvFU9ZRWjXpYUFe5ttBcZkzP9RpG_WDWfWpGLJAfM6ayzEI-Y3OR7hlK1DUqZLMknVVQBQ6hZJ_AkDhKbUO-qzDUVq5JZscQzXyjHO8nM16VJly4KVOcLqTqqW9loMlGayaJkTacLxwggOtdHw.cw-lIBlrh667bC8zRPM2WrlJMQz3clBvmrDbi-mVW28&dib_tag=se&keywords=luggage%2Bstraps&qid=1720406223&sprefix=luggage%2Bstraps%2Caps%2C133&sr=8-1-spons&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGY&th=1

Edited by Mum2Mercury
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38 minutes ago, Mum2Mercury said:

Logistics of boarding the ship:  

 

Before you leave for the port, attach your luggage tags -- you want to move through all steps of check-in quickly.  Since you have a small child, I suggest wearing swimsuits + cover ups to board; this'll allow you to go straight to the pools /splash areas.  

 

Arrive at the port.  Adjacent to the parking /drop off area you'll see the porters.  Drop off your checked bag -- do not leave until you see your bag go on the cart.  Once it's on the cart, the chances of it going astray are very small.  I always tip the porters; this is a controversial subject.  

 

When you enter the terminal, you (and your tote bag) will go through the X-ray machine.  

 

Next you'll go through check-in.  You'll show your documentation, have your picture taken, and answer a few questions.  

 

If you're boarding early, you'll sit down and wait for boarding to begin.  If you're boarding later in the day, you might be able to walk straight onboard.  

 

As you leave the terminal and approach the ship, you'll get the chance to take a group photograph.  

 

You'll walk up the gang plank and onto the ship.  I'd be sure the 5-year old is in sturdy tennis shoes /not flip-flops for the gang plank -- it's not really challenging or anything; that's more of "an abundance of caution thought".  

 

Most people head up to the pool deck and /or to the buffet first.  At this point, the ship feels quite full, but that'll get better.  Two things you need to do right away:  Go to your Muster Station.  Go to the Kids' Club and register your daughter.  

 

Sometime 1:00 - 1:30ish the captain will announce that the staterooms are open, and you'll be amazed at how fast the crowds will dissipate.  

 

Your ship ID cards will be in an envelope outside your room.

 

Your checked luggage will appear in the hall at some point.  We are always among the first (non-special) groups to board, and our luggage always beats us to our room.  If you board later, things get busier, and your luggage could take longer -- but it's always delivered pretty quickly.  

 

Thanks! great info.  That's another thing I'm always wondering, which is the logistics from arrival at cruise port to ultimately being your stateroom.  So as I understand it, you don't just enter the ship and go straight to your room.  What is a "Muster Station?"  

Also do the staff put the luggage in your room or does it just sit outside your room until you get there?

 

 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, redleader74 said:

Thanks! great info.  That's another thing I'm always wondering, which is the logistics from arrival at cruise port to ultimately being your stateroom.  So as I understand it, you don't just enter the ship and go straight to your room.  What is a "Muster Station?"  

Also do the staff put the luggage in your room or does it just sit outside your room until you get there?

We're getting into the Small Details Machine here:  

 

If you board early (which most people want to do -- who doesn't want to start his or her vaca sooner?), your stateroom will not be open.  Once you've been through the process, you'll understand that the cabin stewards work VERY HARD on turn-around day prepping the rooms for the new guests -- essentially they're managing a hotel where ALL the guests check out on the same day; I'm amazed they can do it as quickly as they can.  Before rooms open, you're free to go to the pool area, the buffet, or do what we do:  Go to the tip-top of the ship and "circle your way down" exploring every public area. 

 

If you board after 1:00, likely your room will be available and you can go straight to it.  Some people prefer to board later, and they don't check bags -- they roll them on and go straight to their room.  It's not my preference, but it's a reasonable thought process.  

 

Regardless, you'll have no problem knowing when rooms open -- you'll hear the announcement, and you'll notice that the crowd disappears as if by magic.  And your Ship ID (which opens your door, acts as your onboard credit card, and is necessary for leaving /returning to the ship) will be in an envelope outside your door.  

 

Shortly after boarding, your cabin steward will come by and introduce himself.  If you need anything, he's your guy.  He knows everything, and if he can't fix it, he can contact the person who can.  

 

Your Muster Station is your Emergency Station, and it's maritime law that every passenger visit within the first few hours.  The ship literally cannot sail until every soul has been to his or her Muster Station.  In case of an emergency, all passengers would be instructed to go to their Stations.  This is very rare (I've never been part of a real Muster).  A friend told me she was called to Muster because a woman was missing.  The missing woman was paged several times but didn't report to Guest Services, as requested.  When every person on the ship was inconvenienced and dragged out to their Muster Stations, they discovered she'd been, um ... sleeping in the wrong room.  But the ship HAD TO KNOW whether she was onboard.  Same friend /same trip was called to Muster Stations because they had a small fire in the kitchens -- but they put it out.  They put passengers into "emergency mode" in preparation for failure, but it didn't happen.  I don't know anyone else who's actually been called to Muster.  

 

That reminds me of something else:  When we first sailed, our girls were still very young.  The Muster Station crew gave them each a plastic bracelet (think hospital bracelet), which they were required to wear all week.  The bracelet was necessary in case they were in the Kids' Club or out on their own (not that I personally ever allowed my small children to wander) when an emergency happened.  The bracelet would allow staff to deliver small children to their Muster Stations to meet their parents.  

 

Another thing you want to do soon after boarding:  Go to the dining room and find your table.  If it's not to your liking, speak to the Head Waiter (he will be on hand) and ask for a change.  If you ask early, it'll be possible.  We joke that our family is always assigned to the best hotel room and the worst dining table -- seriously, we're always by the kitchen door or the men's room.  Last cruise, for example, we 'specially wanted a two-top table, but we were assigned to sit with a large group.  I went into the dining room -- my husband was already in Playmakers watching sports and drinking beer -- and was disappointed.  Within minutes I had a new assignment.  

 

"Back in the day" our luggage was left in front of our door.  Since the pandemic, as the ships have had trouble keeping enough staff, ALL suitcases have been in one spot down the hall.  This is a good reason to choose bright-colored luggage -- or to identify yours clearly with patterned Duct Tape or bandanas.  

 

And while we're talking boarding details, let's also talk about Disembarkation -- leaving the ship on the last day:  You'll need to choose Traditional or Self-Disembarkation.  

 

Traditional:  You're assigned a 30-minute time slot during which you must leave the ship; your cabin steward leaves you color-coded luggage tags denoting your assigned time.  On the last evening, you pack your bags and put them out in the hallway.  Your cabin steward takes them away.  Obviously, you keep one tote bag for your last outfit, documentation and other valuables.  You leave the ship for the last time hands-free, then -- after going through Customs -- you wander through the terminal searching for your luggage.  Kinda like the baggage claim at the airport. 


Self-Disembarkation:  No time slot.  No putting your luggage out.  When you're ready, take your own luggage and leave.  But you must handle your own luggage (one more reason to pack light), and the elevators are busy that morning -- no porters are available to help until you're past Customs.  As long as we're able-bodied, we'll choose this simpler option.  

 

 

Edited by Mum2Mercury
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1 hour ago, Mum2Mercury said:

 

 

"Back in the day" our luggage was left in front of our door.  Since the pandemic, as the ships have had trouble keeping enough staff, ALL suitcases have been in one spot down the hall.  This is a good reason to choose bright-colored luggage -- or to identify yours clearly with patterned Duct Tape or bandanas.  

 

 

This is something new.  And surprising.  We have not experienced this on any cruise line, but of course, we have not been on all of them.   Which cruise line does this?  

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1 hour ago, Mum2Mercury said:

We're getting into the Small Details Machine here:  

 

If you board early (which most people want to do -- who doesn't want to start his or her vaca sooner?), your stateroom will not be open.  Once you've been through the process, you'll understand that the cabin stewards work VERY HARD on turn-around day prepping the rooms for the new guests -- essentially they're managing a hotel where ALL the guests check out on the same day; I'm amazed they can do it as quickly as they can.  Before rooms open, you're free to go to the pool area, the buffet, or do what we do:  Go to the tip-top of the ship and "circle your way down" exploring every public area. 

 

If you board after 1:00, likely your room will be available and you can go straight to it.  Some people prefer to board later, and they don't check bags -- they roll them on and go straight to their room.  It's not my preference, but it's a reasonable thought process.  

 

Regardless, you'll have no problem knowing when rooms open -- you'll hear the announcement, and you'll notice that the crowd disappears as if by magic.  And your Ship ID (which opens your door, acts as your onboard credit card, and is necessary for leaving /returning to the ship) will be in an envelope outside your door.  

 

Shortly after boarding, your cabin steward will come by and introduce himself.  If you need anything, he's your guy.  He knows everything, and if he can't fix it, he can contact the person who can.  

 

Your Muster Station is your Emergency Station, and it's maritime law that every passenger visit within the first few hours.  The ship literally cannot sail until every soul has been to his or her Muster Station.  In case of an emergency, all passengers would be instructed to go to their Stations.  This is very rare (I've never been part of a real Muster).  A friend told me she was called to Muster because a woman was missing.  The missing woman was paged several times but didn't report to Guest Services, as requested.  When every person on the ship was inconvenienced and dragged out to their Muster Stations, they discovered she'd been, um ... sleeping in the wrong room.  But the ship HAD TO KNOW whether she was onboard.  Same friend /same trip was called to Muster Stations because they had a small fire in the kitchens -- but they put it out.  They put passengers into "emergency mode" in preparation for failure, but it didn't happen.  I don't know anyone else who's actually been called to Muster.  

 

That reminds me of something else:  When we first sailed, our girls were still very young.  The Muster Station crew gave them each a plastic bracelet (think hospital bracelet), which they were required to wear all week.  The bracelet was necessary in case they were in the Kids' Club or out on their own (not that I personally ever allowed my small children to wander) when an emergency happened.  The bracelet would allow staff to deliver small children to their Muster Stations to meet their parents.  

 

Another thing you want to do soon after boarding:  Go to the dining room and find your table.  If it's not to your liking, speak to the Head Waiter (he will be on hand) and ask for a change.  If you ask early, it'll be possible.  We joke that our family is always assigned to the best hotel room and the worst dining table -- seriously, we're always by the kitchen door or the men's room.  Last cruise, for example, we 'specially wanted a two-top table, but we were assigned to sit with a large group.  I went into the dining room -- my husband was already in Playmakers watching sports and drinking beer -- and was disappointed.  Within minutes I had a new assignment.  

 

"Back in the day" our luggage was left in front of our door.  Since the pandemic, as the ships have had trouble keeping enough staff, ALL suitcases have been in one spot down the hall.  This is a good reason to choose bright-colored luggage -- or to identify yours clearly with patterned Duct Tape or bandanas.  

 

And while we're talking boarding details, let's also talk about Disembarkation -- leaving the ship on the last day:  You'll need to choose Traditional or Self-Disembarkation.  

 

Traditional:  You're assigned a 30-minute time slot during which you must leave the ship; your cabin steward leaves you color-coded luggage tags denoting your assigned time.  On the last evening, you pack your bags and put them out in the hallway.  Your cabin steward takes them away.  Obviously, you keep one tote bag for your last outfit, documentation and other valuables.  You leave the ship for the last time hands-free, then -- after going through Customs -- you wander through the terminal searching for your luggage.  Kinda like the baggage claim at the airport. 


Self-Disembarkation:  No time slot.  No putting your luggage out.  When you're ready, take your own luggage and leave.  But you must handle your own luggage (one more reason to pack light), and the elevators are busy that morning -- no porters are available to help until you're past Customs.  As long as we're able-bodied, we'll choose this simpler option.  

 

 

To the OP be aware that the above description is one person’s version for one cruise line. I can tell you that other cruise lines do not work this way (specifically I am aware of NCL. CCL, and some of the luxury lines). If you want to know how it works on your cruise line post your question on that cruise line’s board 

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21 hours ago, ldubs said:

This is something new.  And surprising.  We have not experienced this on any cruise line, but of course, we have not been on all of them.   Which cruise line does this?  

Royal Caribbean. 

21 hours ago, zqvol said:

To the OP be aware that the above description is one person’s version for one cruise line. I can tell you that other cruise lines do not work this way (specifically I am aware of NCL. CCL, and some of the luxury lines). If you want to know how it works on your cruise line post your question on that cruise line’s board 

That's fair -- but it's one person's version based upon many cruises on Royal Caribbean.  OP, since you want details, it would be wise to investigate your specific cruise line.  

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I have not sailed Royal, so I have not experienced this.  When I do check a bag, it eventually appears at my door.  Years ago it might appear inside my cabin.  Only once, many years ago, did I pass by a large accumulation of ,luggage in an elevator foyer that had not yet been distributed.  Spied my bag and grabbed it.  EM

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10 hours ago, Mum2Mercury said:

Royal Caribbean. 

That's fair -- but it's one person's version based upon many cruises on Royal Caribbean.  OP, since you want details, it would be wise to investigate your specific cruise line.  

 

We have been on about a dozen Royal Caribbean cruises (last being Nov '22)  and have never experienced anything like what you describe.  It must be something new (and not a good change).   I do recall a Mediterranean cruise where some people, instead of waiting, were going to the staging area and collecting their bags --  much to the crew's dismay.  I can't remember which cruise line that was.  

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On 7/8/2024 at 6:37 AM, Mum2Mercury said:

Regardless, you'll have no problem knowing when rooms open -- you'll hear the announcement, and you'll notice that the crowd disappears as if by magic.  And your Ship ID (which opens your door, acts as your onboard credit card, and is necessary for leaving /returning to the ship) will be in an envelope outside your door.  

Not on Princess. You get your medallion (it's like a cruise card but shaped like an air tag) before you even get on the ship. And lots of other lines give you the card before you get to your room as well.

 

On 7/8/2024 at 6:37 AM, Mum2Mercury said:

Another thing you want to do soon after boarding:  Go to the dining room and find your table.

if your line has "anytime" dining, you don't *have* a table. It's more like a restaurant where you get one when you show up. After the first night, you can ask to keep that table and time for the rest of the cruise.

 

On 7/8/2024 at 6:37 AM, Mum2Mercury said:

"Back in the day" our luggage was left in front of our door.  Since the pandemic, as the ships have had trouble keeping enough staff, ALL suitcases have been in one spot down the hall.  This is a good reason to choose bright-colored luggage -- or to identify yours clearly with patterned Duct Tape or bandanas.

Some lines put it in your room.

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On 7/9/2024 at 8:27 AM, Mum2Mercury said:

Royal Caribbean. 

we have sailed with RCI before and after the pandemic, and our luggage was always left by our door, just like in the good old times.

On 7/5/2024 at 4:35 PM, redleader74 said:

But with a 5 yr old child in tow

check out the Family cruising board for more advice on traveling with kids. Don't forget to bring a booster if you are planning on taking taxis/ubers.

Edited by Itchy&Scratchy
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18 hours ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

we have sailed with RCI before and after the pandemic, and our luggage was always left by our door, just like in the good old times.

check out the Family cruising board for more advice on traveling with kids. Don't forget to bring a booster if you are planning on taking taxis/ubers.

Ok great info...we'll check on that too.  7 days goes by just like that and I'd hate to find out only during the last day or two that there was something fun to do on the ship that I didn't know about.

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25 minutes ago, redleader74 said:

7 days goes by just like that and I'd hate to find out only during the last day or two that there was something fun to do on the ship that I didn't know about.

one of the biggest mistakes people may make on their first cruise is to frantically try to do EVERYTHING on their first cruise. There is always a ton of fun things to do, but don't spread yourself too thin. It's a vacation, not a marathon. :)

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On 7/12/2024 at 1:02 PM, redleader74 said:

... 7 days goes by just like that and I'd hate to find out only during the last day or two that there was something fun to do on the ship that I didn't know about.

 

There will be an onboard newsletter distributed each evening by your cabin steward with information about the next day's events. Most lines have the same information available on their apps too. 

 

The newsletters are a guide to everything that is happening on the cruise, including activities, special events, shows, contests and more. They also highlight in-port options as well as dining or shopping specials available that day. Some may feature the in-cabin TV schedule. Each one features a detailed hour-by-hour schedule of everything happening on the ship the next day, including children's programming and dining options. Each day's newsletter also includes essential and emergency information, such as medical contacts, opening and closing times for all of the ship's facilities and information about onboard services. Also, the very important Port Agent contact information for each port on your itinerary. That will be the person or company to contact if your ship sails for the next port without you as well as other emergencies. The last newsletter will sadly be full of information about disembarkation the next day.

 

And speaking of disembarkation, here are Cruise Critic articles that might be helpful:

What to Expect on a Cruise: How to Disembark the Ship

  1. What Not to Do at Cruise Ship Disembarkation
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